Goals Habits Weekend

Sleep is Amazing

November 14, 2020

Coming at you after 8.5 hours of sleep! Josh put G to bed last night, and apparently it went relatively well (though it was at 10pm and with him sitting in a chair in her room). He also put the other two to bed and I passed out shortly after 8:30 pm, and I am very very grateful for all of that. Of note, G took a 2 hour nap at school which was not ideal. Her main teacher has agreed to work on shortening her nap (ideally to 1 hr) but wasn’t in yesterday.

I really really needed that night of sleep.

And now it’s the weekend!


Run / Kids’ Outing / Clean Up (in theory) / Take Out Night

Today Josh is on call — it was supposed to be the entire weekend but he covered someone else 2 weeks ago and as a result he is off tomorrow! Hooray.

I am considering taking the kids to Butterfly World yet again. I have failed to make this journey about 3 times already, but today looks relatively promising:

(I am looking forward to the day that we can at least experience some consistent low 70s temps. It WILL come, right?!)

I also have to work on a presentation I am giving on planning and goal setting at G&C’s school. Someone in G’s class happens to be a BOBW listener and asked me to do a talk — which is a highly flattering! But now I have to actually create said talk. Since you all are always brilliant, I welcome any suggestions!

Potential structure is below:

1- Intro BOBW / BLP / my current roles– and admit you can’t do “it all” (whatever that is), but you can do quite a lot. For me, the key ingredient to doing “a lot” while enjoying it — for the most part — have been planning and support. Will disclose that I have a full time child care provider at home because I do not want anyone to be under illusion that I could do everything I do without one at this current life stage. (There’s no way.)

2- Share some exercises I’ve found valuable in figuring out what I want to do. Time logging (inspired initially by 168 Hours!) and mapping out an ideal week (inspired by Michael Hyatt). Having regular ‘logistics’ meetings with Josh (inspired by a number of sources, but most recently the Marriage Kids & Money podcast).

3- Talk about actually getting organized – ie out from the pile of less clearly defined ‘stuff’. Will introduce the idea of GTD methodology in brief, and my current go-to practices:

  • capture everything and know where everything goes (will discuss my planner here!)
  • review regularly
  • as part of weekly review, plan each week
  • beginning of each day, plan the day and be realistic about number of tasks to be accomplished
  • make sure to devote some energy to long term planning / dreaming / ensuring you are continuing to do what you really want to do

4- Goal setting – will talk about Quintiles & also mention 4 Tendencies (unless any Rebels in the audience have already decided I am crazy). Discuss different areas to set goals (personal, family, relationships, finance, work, spiritual, etc)

5- Habits – will discuss how important daily habits have become to me esp during the pandemic, how focusing on small habits can lead to powerful change, and ways to track them. (Will share current journey on dramatically lowering screen/scroll time)

6- Fave books & podcasts – will share a few favorite resources (plus BLP obvs).

I also want to figure out ways to make it a bit interactive! Wonder if I can embed some poll questions into Zoom. If it goes over well, I may try to give it at my own (work) organization as well. We will see! Ideas/additions/subtractions welcome.


  • Reply Amanda November 14, 2020 at 6:44 am

    That sounds like a great day & I love the outline too. If you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear more about your full time childcare provider at home and how you’ve shifted her role with the kids back in school more. I’m in a similar situation, and we LOVE her, but the large expense is becoming a question if our family can justify when we no longer need full time childcare.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:15 pm

      No shift of expense. She does household stuff when all 3 are at school, b/c working for us is her full time job and I know she wants to remain full time. Yep, it costs a lot. But we need it.

      (We spend close to 2x on our nanny’s pay and taxes compared to what we spend on housing costs. I recognize this is not typical but it definitely fits my priorities.)

      • Reply Amanda November 15, 2020 at 6:30 am

        Thanks, Sarah! I’m asking more about shift in role, not necessarily expense. She is, understandably, more interested in childcare than housework, and we also don’t seem to have enough household tasks to fill the opened time when all kids are in school. Have you shifted hours or added other/different role with the kids? Trying to think through best scenario for everyone

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 15, 2020 at 7:39 am

          We definitely don’t have enough household tasks either. (ours does her workouts, yoga, plays with her stocks on Robin Hood . . . and many other things, which we are fine with!). However, she does do laundry, make dinner, grocery shop (not recently ,but used to), tidy up. Having those things taken care of PLUS not having to panic if a kid has a runny nose (or school closes for 3 days due to flooding, like last week!) feels very worth it to me even if we’re paying for more hours than are actually being worked, if that makes sense.

  • Reply Rachel November 14, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Can your nanny pick G up before nap from her school day? Sticker charts and bribery for treats/toy work really well for our 3 year old but as everyone is saying it’s probably the nap. Our 3 year old does well if she doesn’t nap daily so even wearing her out on the weekend works well, though we enforce quiet time with the Hatch night light. Ie stay in your room until this color. It’s also probably a phase, everyone I know seems to really struggle for a few weeks before age 3. Hugs. So so difficult

  • Reply Gwinne November 14, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Sarah, take this with grain of salt but with my kids the short naps option was the worst at that age. It meant a struggle at daycare as well as struggle at night and less total sleep. When they went to no nap they slept for 11 to 12 hrs overnight. I remember pulling lg out of a kindergarten program because she was sleeping 7 to 7. Sometimes falling asleep at 630

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      I can see that. But the 2 hour nap means 10-11pm bedtime which I. Can. Not. Handle. and the school is not willing to completely eliminate. I COULD have our nanny pick her up before nap at school. I hate that option b/c it will likely lead to a car nap anyway since she has to then drag G to pick up A and then C later — 2 separate trips. But it’s a possibility.

      • Reply Julia November 15, 2020 at 12:23 am

        I just want to empathize – that stage is so hard! When my son was 3, I about lost my mind with the late nights and was infuriated that the daycare insisted that the kids all needed a 2.5 hr nap/quiet time (through pre-K?!?) His main teacher was great about working with us and would load him up with things to do…but if she was out he’d nap, and then party all night. sleep deprivation is torture. I hope you are giving yourself some compassion and some extra chocolate! 😉

  • Reply Amanda November 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Sarah – as someone who has benefitted so much from you and Laura’s work I’m excited to hear that you were asked to speak to some other parents. In the last 6-9 months I went from not using a planner at all and basically living each day in a very reactive way to ordering my own customized planner (Plum paper) for 2021 and just itching to start using it. I now set goals/break things down into doable steps/track progress and can tell a big difference in how quickly and effectively things are moving forward. However, when I first started listening to you talk about planning I found it very overwhelming. I remember thinking it sounded stressful to have so many different lists and very time consuming to be doing so many reviews all the time. I am now at a point where I have a somewhat similar system to you (still not quite as intense) but it took “practice” and some time with a cheap planner from Target Plus a notebook to figure out what I want/need for my system. So I guess I’m just suggesting to remember that there may be some planner novices in your crowd who want to learn/change but will need some reassurance that you can take baby steps to get there, and don’t have to start waking up at 5 AM to plan every morning. Thank you for all that you do and for taking even more of your time to share your wisdom with others!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you and that’s such a good point that I need to be mindful of not making things too complex or ALL OR NOTHING. It sounds amazing the journey you have made though! I am already excited for your Plum Paper – I hope you love it! They make great customizable lovely products!!

  • Reply Kathy November 14, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Giving a presentation is wonderful, and it is a compliment to be invited. Your outline is great if the purpose of the event is to learn about your system. How is the event being advertised? If the event is to learn goal setting and planning strategies, then you are right that being interactive will help. What if you develop a series of questions to ask the audience? Maybe start by asking something like, “what would you do if you had more time/energy?” Alternatively, “what do you hope to learn tonight?” “Why do you want to learn about planning?” People could share in chat. You could go through how to turn this into a goal, how to break the goal into reasonable steps, and how to use planning strategies to make this happen. At each step in the presentation, you could pause to give people time to practice/make notes about how to try this in their own life. Perhaps think about showing your strategy and then one alternative from a guest from BLP. For example, talk about your planner and then show an electronic version for people who don’t like paper (who ARE those folks?) 🙂 You could incorporate these questions into your existing outline and use your approach as an example. Then the audience would leave with a plan of their own.

    The tough part is being mindful of context. Many of the parents I know are overwhelmed right now. Thinking about a big goal could be a lot. Maybe make space for goals that range from, “get a promotion” to “get an extra 20 minutes of sleep each night.”

    You will do great. Thanks for your blog.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you! I actually wasn’t going to spend as much time on planner specifics at all – agree other systems work for people. Love the prompt ideas. PS: an extra 20 min sleep actually DOES sound like a big goal to me!

  • Reply Kate November 14, 2020 at 10:58 am

    One nice way to get participation in Zoom is to ask people to use numbers in chat.

    Ex: On a scale 1 to 5, 5 being that you feel well prepared, how do you feel about each morning?

    Ex: put 1 in chat if you wish you could get an extra hour of work time.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      oh good simple idea!

  • Reply Claire November 14, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Sleep recommendation: do not go down the path of staying in your kid’s room as she falls asleep. It starts out as a few times and next thing you know you have a sleep association and your kid won’t fall asleep without a parent in the room.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      I’m leery of that too – Annabel got stuck in this place for years. At the same time . . . I feel like we’ve reached that level of desperation.

  • Reply Cheryll Hays November 14, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Also look into nearpod or Peardeck for interactiveness; we use them for staff meetings all the time (i prefer nearpod)

  • Reply Stacy November 14, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Love the polling idea and using the chat function to make it more interactive. Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing out loud in Zoom but are fine sending a message through chat. The only other thing I would suggest is to use breakout rooms. It breaks up the routine of just listening to a speaker and I find having some time to chat and process what is being talked about with a small group helpful before returning to the larger group.

  • Reply Melanie M Kramme November 14, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I sure learn so much from you, even with having help with the the kids, you are amazingly organized. I would love it if you after the “zoom” you share with us the link to a recording (if you are comfortable doing that).

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      I am not sure I will be allowed / able to do that, but if there is demand I could give it again, like a free live blog event 🙂

  • Reply Nadine S Dodge November 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Not sure if you are familiar with mentimeter- it lets you ask questions, people answer via smartphone, and then the results get loaded on to the presentation. It’s super handy for work but would be good for any presentation.

    • Reply Heather November 14, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Was just going to suggest Mentimeter as well! Some of the poll types are really fun and the results appear onscreen in real time.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 14, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      ooh i love this. hoping the free version is enough b/c i totally want to try it.

      • Reply Sam November 14, 2020 at 3:24 pm

        There is a free version, but it’s somewhat limited. I use it a lot for the word cloud feature as an exit ticket, so maybe you could have people type in a takeaway or goal at either the beginning or end. It’s cool to see the image form as people add ideas.If you do this, make sure to hit esc on the image when you’re ready to share so you can actually see the cloud forming.

  • Reply Marjorie November 14, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    You can definitely use polls in Zoom, which makes it nicely interactive. I love your outline but agree with the others that it might be overwhelming for planner novices. I personally would LOVE to hear your presentation with all of the above elements included, but I too am still working on incorporating things like weekly review. In fact, yesterday was my first SUCCESSFUL attempt at doing a full weekly review, which mostly consisted of making sure that any outstanding tasks in my catch-all to-do list (captured in Todoist on my phone) as well as unfinished tasks in my Hobonichi are transferred to the appropriate Asana board (Asana is what my team uses at work). I printed out your weekly review list for inspiration, but it’s a work in progress. I do adore my Hobonichi, though, and credit you for introducing me to it!

    I can’t wait to hear more about the presentation once it’s over!

    Oh, by the way, this is totally unrelated, but I was wondering if you could share your go-to work bag? I’ve worked from home for 14 years (I work for a software company that has been fully remote from Day 1 way back in 2005), but when I go on business trips or just want to work out of a coffee shop I usually end up with a tote bag or small Tumi backpack for my laptop, headphones, and Hobonichi + a purse for my personal items. I get the sense that you have just 1 work bag and am curious if that holds everything and you’re happy with it. (As you can probably tell, I’m the kind of person who loves reading the “What’s in your bag” feature in US Weekly!)

  • Reply Emily November 14, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I can’t think of any particular advice but is there any way you could record this presentation and share? Would love to watch! (also 100% agree on sleep — today is my day off as well and slept almost 9 hours…what a dream 🙂 )

  • Reply Cecy Mora November 14, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Since you listen to Michael Hyatt’s podcast, you may have already listened to this, but he covered public speaking on episode #133 and I found it very useful!! Good luck!!
    BTW, we are starting to consider eliminating naps all together… my 2.5yo is now sleeping better at night, but waking up at 5am (with 1hr nap at childcare) 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • Reply Helena Murphy November 14, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    It would be such a treat to see you (and maybe Laura?) on a live Zoom event that could be recorded and archived as well. Even if it were a VIP (i.e. paid) option. Maybe a 2021 quarterly event?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 15, 2020 at 7:40 am

      Interesting idea! Maybe someday. I think I will start with free and see how it goes over 🙂 Could imagine doing an event where some or all of proceeds go towards a charitable cause too – that would be fun and feel really good.

  • Reply Lisa November 15, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I feel like you have a book outline from planning for this event! Not sure if you still want to write a book, but this speaking outline gives you a strong start! I hope the presentation goes well. What a compliment to be asked to present!

    I am glad that you got a full night of sleep. It really wears on a person to get crappy sleep night after night. I hope this weekend went better since you had control of her naps. Sleep is so darn hard and it seems like there are always curveballs being thrown at you. I thought the worst was behind us for our son but since you and other commenters have mentioned similar struggles, it makes me think we will still have challenges to come. He is waking up now but my husband doesn’t always go in and he goes to bed pretty easily. I can see him regressing when the baby is born, though.

  • Reply Dominique November 15, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Have you tried music or “sleep stories” (from Calm or another app)? My kids have always fallen asleep to music (the nucracker is a current favorite) and they know that they need to stay in bed until the music ends, and then they can come out if they are still awake. It works 90% of the time – which is not bad.

    • Reply Lori C November 17, 2020 at 11:26 am

      we use this too! Moshi is our app of choice. My older one seems to adapt better to it – the 3 year old still stays up.

  • Reply Lori C November 17, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Um, can you record this and share with us? 🙂 And I am a rebel and do NOT think you are crazy! Rebels like to plan too… it just acts as more of a framework, because I frequently rebel against myself.

    Side note- we are going through similar struggles with our 3 year old. He naps at school for two hours, so when his brother falls asleep between 7:30 and 8, he is playing in his bed and popping out into the hall every few minutes for a drink of water, a question, a bathroom break, the list goes on… My patience wears thin. I tried asking them to keep him up at school, but they said they are required to keep him in the nap room. He can choose to stay up if he wants, but he falls asleep quickly. Ug.

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